Saenz, Hernandez elect free agency

Saenz, Hernandez elect free agency

LOS ANGELES -- Pinch-hitter Olmedo Saenz and right-handed reliever Roberto Hernandez elected free agency on Thursday, a technicality allowing them a head start on several Dodgers who figure to soon follow.

Saenz, 37, is coming off the worst of his four seasons as a Dodger, having hit .191 with only 18 RBIs in 110 at-bats. His slugging percentage fell more than 200 points from 2006. Saenz's departure leaves Brad Penny as the longest-tenured member of the Dodgers. He was acquired at the trade deadline in 2004.

Hernandez, 43 next month, was picked up in midseason after being released by Cleveland. The one-time closer with 326 career saves had a 6.64 ERA in 22 games with the Dodgers.

Other Dodgers expected to become free agents after the World Series are Luis Gonzalez, Shea Hillenbrand, Rudy Seanez, Mark Sweeney and David Wells. The Dodgers have 2008 options on Mike Lieberthal, Ramon Martinez and Randy Wolf.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.